How to Find the Right Artist?

Once you have decided on the kind of artist you are looking for you have to find him or her. There are several ways this can be accomplished but here are three methods which you may find usefull.

1. OPEN COMPETITION

The catchment area can be as wide as the client desires – local, national or international.. However, costs must be borne in mind, such as, advertising, publication of briefs, information packs etc. A competition of this nature has to be properly organised and managed. The response from artists is unpredictable and often includes many who normally have no interest or understanding of the issues in public art but are attracted by the possibility of earning money. It is not unknown for clients to be left empty handed after organising a competition and getting as much as a hundred entries. Some of the reasons for this are:

a. Inexperience of entrants.

b. Entrants do not visit the proposed site and therefore cannot design a site specific piece of work.

c. Entrants are not given a design fee which would go some way to allowing them to carry out proper research for their proposal. Unlike a supplier tendering for work free of charge against an established specification supplied by the client e.g. laying paviors made of a specified material, in a specified pattern in a specified technique in a particular place. The artist has to create the design, produce the specification and supply the product. Of course nothing can be decided until the work is designed, which is the most important part of the process. However, in an open competition, design is treated so superficially, for the reasons given above. that the exercise is often not as successful as would be hoped.

2. LIMITED COMPETITION

If conducted properly it should ensure that the entrants are experienced, or are at least aware of the issues to be dealt with during the project.

d. Obtain a list of possible artists from the Arts or Crafts Council, local knowledge, or by advertising in the press for artists to submit images and a curriculum vitae detailing their relevant experience.

e. A short list of around three to five artists can be selected to submit proposals and be interviewed. Offer a reasonable design fee and ask for fairly detailed proposals and costs.

3. DIRECT COMMISSION

The most straightforward way to appoint an artist, provided you know who you are after. This is the most economical method of selection as it does not incur advertising costs, or the expense of the selection procedure i.e. committees, travel and accommodation expenses for short listed candidates. This method also creates a partnership from the outset which allows the proposal to develop and evolve through a direct dialogue between client and artist.

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